2012 Volume 7 Issue 1 Pages 9-13
Afghanistan is a landlocked country of plains and mountains with a wide range of ecosystems. Its climate is continental, with cold winters and hot summers. Most of the country is semi-arid or arid, although the east is watered by the monsoon. The natural resources and associated biological diversity provide the basis of a livelihood for up to 80% of the population; agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, and forestry form the backbone of the economy. Afghanistan is rich in biodiversity and natural beauty, and is home to globally significant wildlife species such as Marco Polo sheep (Ovis ammon polii) and the snow leopard (Uncia uncia), which are under pressure from hunting, loss of habitat, and illegal trade. The most significant threats to natural resources are illegal hunting and trade, deforestation, desertification, and lack of law enforcement. In this situation, food security and sustainable agricultural development will remain a dream, and the causes of poverty and instability will be strengthened, both in Afghanistan and in the region. If Afghanistan is to develop into a vibrant nation with secure sustainable agricultural development, it must first halt the loss of its biodiversity, which requires international support and collaboration in national reconciliation, job creation, capacity building, raising of public awareness, and law enforcement. Healthy societies depend on a healthy environment that is rich in biodiversity, whose conservation is a must.